On September 5, 1982, the Sunday edition of Des Moines Register came out with the front headlines teasing readers about video recorders, the trend of watching TV, the USDA, and something about China-Soviet relations.
In other words, it was all routine. No one knew that one of Iowa’s most important stories was about to unfold the same morning; the disappearance of a paperboy named Johnny Gosch.
While taking his usual paper route, the 12-year-old boy – who at that time was on the job for about a year – vanished without a trace.
It was believed the incident occurred between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. It was the last time anybody saw him alive.
Fast forward to 2022, forty years after the sad day, the police are still baffled. Without any solid evidence and eyewitness accounts, the disappearance of Johnny Gosch went quickly to the cold cases cabinet.
During those days, Gosch’s neighborhood was primarily considered a safe (implicitly white) place and immune to kidnapping and violent crimes.
Everybody was terrified, but that alone didn’t help solve the shocking case.
10 /10 Perfect Service Award
According to Noreen Gosch, his mother, Johnny, never delivered the paper late. He even had a perfect service award for being on time all time. He set out that day at 5:45 a.m. with his dachshund.
About two hours later, one of his customers phoned home to ask why the paper had not arrived. His father, Leonard Gosch, quickly told Noreen to call the police and went looking for Johnny.
Leonard found his son’s wagon still full of newspapers two blocks away from their Des Moines home. Leonard then delivered them to the customers.
9 /10 Ford Fairmont
The dog came home, but the boy did not. Initial investigations discovered that some witnesses had seen the boy talking to a man in a blue Ford Fairmont.
According to their accounts, the boy appeared to be giving directions to the man. The car then made a U-turn, and the man again asked another newspaper boy for more tips.
Noreen also hired a private investigator to work on the case. The PI’s most notable finding was a testimony from a witness who claimed to have seen Johnny being dragged into a car.